House State Affairs chair moves pension bill into subcommittee for deep dive on future costs


A bill proposing a defined benefits pension plan for certain State workers has been assigned to the House State Affairs Committee, where it has been met with a subcommittee led by Rep. Craig Johnson to further research the long-range cost implications of the bill.

HB 22, sponsored by Democrat lawyer Rep. Andy Josephson, is a priority for Democrats, while the Senate version, SB 88, is a priority for the Senate bipartisan majority, which is controlled by pro-spending, mainly Democrat legislators.

Opponents of the bill are concerned that the old defined pensions are still weighing on the state budget, with a liability of $6.7 billion as of 2021 for the Alaska Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Many pensioners are expected to draw set pensions for decades to come.

As a result of this existing unfunded liability, Committee Chairman Rep. Laddie Shaw has signaled that both the House and Senate versions will also need to be carefully examined.

Other members of the subcommittee are Rep. Ben Carpenter and Rep. Andi Story.

The House State Affairs Subcommittee on House Bill 22 and Senate Bill 88 will be on pause until the committee gets SB 88, which is still in the Senate, since the two bills will need to be evaluated and compared.

The bill is contentious, with Democrats and union members pushing for the return to defined pensions, while opponents argue that the current matching retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), is a more sustainable option. Observers suggest that SB 88 is likely to be the final vehicle for this legislation in the Senate.

Although HB 22 had been fast-tracked through its first House committee of referral, Community and Regional Affairs, with the majority of the committee voting the bill out without a fiscal note, further analysis is needed before it can move forward, the State Affairs Committee appears to believe.

T”he House State Affairs Committee has quite a large roster of bill referrals, I think I’m up to about 25. While this bill and the matter of recruitment and retention in general require a higher level of attention,” said Rep. Shaw, “the work of this committee must nonetheless continue apace. In that spirit, and pursuant to Uniform Rule 20B, I’m establishing a subcommittee which shall be called the House State Affairs Subcommittee on House Bill 22 and Senate Bill 88.”


  1. The legislature- and Dunleavy- need to explain how they will pay off the existing $7.5 billion dollar PERS/TRS obligation. Income taxes? Sales taxes? What?

  2. Laddie Shaw, Mike Shower, and lots of veterans have defined benefits. Why would they not want teachers who taught them, teach their children and grandchildren to have the same benefits.

    • Are you really going there? Even for a progressive troll this is amazingly dumb.

      Any teacher, any citizen can have the benefits Shower, Shaw, Eastman have. All they have to do is serve their country in the military.

      Only thing stopping them is them.

      • If you believe teachers don’t deserve defined benefits then, who do you have to thank for teaching you what you know? Do they deserve nothing for their service to our country’s youth and be subjected to ill-mannered parents who believe it is the teachers’ fault for their kids not learning? Do they have to be foolhardy and put their lives on the line for the Military Industrial complex’s greed? Why should the military and the legislature get so many benefits and privileges while the rest grovel?
        I am proud not to be a regressive by the way.

    • Those are all government positions. But you have to ask yourself, should the worker at the grocery store, with no corporate defined benefit pension offering, have to subsidize a government employee’s pension, through seizure of their PFD? Or increased borough or municipal taxes? Maybe it would be better that the state start participating in social security like everyone else, as imperfect as that system is. Or maybe the unions could run their own defined benefit plan without the state guaranteeing a defined benefit payment. The state could contribute to the plan but the union would have to manage it.

  3. Because of the increased unfunded liability that would occur above the 6.7 billion dollars in the RED for PERS/TRS, regardless if certain legislators are on the defined benefit system now.

  4. Oh that’s right. I remember now, AK set up the pensions to keep AK interests Alaskan and oil not enticing the employable (white people) away from “public” employment. That situation has changed. Now, we are engaged in a great economic plummet testing whether this state or any state can long endure. Thanks swishing schnappzieland Schwab -here’s a new doily for yourself (please stay in hiding, thanx) munnarks et al, and mad scientists in hiding also for some reason. How differential in the idyll of wisdom.

  5. This very simple.

    Especially when we have already been told and seen how our government plans to handle future budget woes. Look at the people talking. Were they for or against a full statutory PFD?

    From here on in the PFD will be used as the piggy bank to pay the bills, while we the residents are told “tough cookies, 1000 dollars is plenty of dividend for you. The state needs the money to do state business.” Etc.etc.

    Don’t even start with the arguments about Alaska’s constitution and what the PFD can and can’t be used for. That’s all null and void. Remember Bill Walker?

  6. We’re in a different world now. We used to have long waiting lists for applicants wanting to be in law enforcement. That is no longer the case. Alaska is a 5 and out state. Meaning we recruit, hire, conduct the backround checks, physicals, send to academies, outfit with equipment, then field train (which takes over 2 years). When 5 years arrive, we have well seasoned officers who are fully vested. They leave, take their money, and we start all over again. We have the field of quality applicants dwindling and our forces understaffed.

  7. One other thing I note: Alaska is not a man of good will. When someone is a man of good will people want to work with him. When one is motivated by super low standards, whimsical unfettered racist protocols all developed in secrecy without scrutiny THAT corporation’s personna will be undeniable. The state of AK corporation has long denied economic parity and opportunity to minorities with few options within the private sector too which results in static disabling of at least a quarter of the Alaskan population being subject to unchecked poverty. Such devotion to not being a man of good will is not denied due to evidence. When one stints on obligations one is not a man of good will (PFD, US Constitution, quality public education) and lack of concern for interests of the populations of the state of Alaska mskes it visible that the state is not a corporation which displays good will. Nevertheless, there are private corporations who have made the grade as being men of good will. Do you know any men of good will in the private sector? The word gets out. Employees will flock there.

  8. I see no reason this idea needs to be pursued. Improve the work environment for employees and many will stay. Why is this not being discussed? There are very serious problems in the Executive Branch with corruption that need to be investigated and addressed. The employment of unqualified and incompetent managers is causing good employees to leave.
    As the saying goes…
    A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.
    Governer Dunleavy and the Legislature need to fix this problem. Why they are refusing to fix it is troubling.

  9. Here is a really short and simple lesson on why AK does not need DB pensions, that former legislators have taken care of ALL Alaskans, present and future, by replacing a pie-in-the-sky lie with a sensible system that can be handled in budgets. Should be required watching by all current legislators …


  10. Jim Colman’s summary can’t be understated. This is a serious issue and defined benefits will help.

    • and yet every single piece of evidence and studies says that post-covid gen workers will not stay at a job for a pension. Defined benefits is stupid. give me a 401K that I can manage – even during retirement. I can take a 401K anywhere. I can change the investment strategy. It goes to my family when my wife and I are gone. the idea that a retirement program will somehow keep people working at a job they don’t like is patently ridiculous and, in the case of cops – dangerous. there is a reason a DB is called golden handcuffs

      • When we don’t have quality applicants for positions, we are forced to lower the standards. We were witness to this just recently with those four officers responsible for the death of an arrestee. With lower standards and a force of rookies, this will become more commonplace. What we spend on recruiting/training is enormous, add some lawsuits to the mix the DB will be a bargain.

  11. Anyone ever heard of PERSONAL responsibility?!?! The current system is set for those who take care of themselves and not become parasites to society …


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